2 office projects add to commercial growth

Published May 11, 2007

NEW PORT RICHEY - Thursday was a good day for those looking for more office space in central Pasco.

The county's top staff planners gave the green light to two more office developments in Wesley Chapel and Land O'Lakes.

Expect to see these new offices fill up with the likes of doctors, real estate agents, lawyers and insurance agents.

Commercial construction is chugging along in Pasco. Last year, while home building permits began to plummet, the value of commercial construction contracts - the conventional measure of commercial development - grew more than 10 times from the previous year.

Of the pair approved Thursday, the bigger one is Kevin Howell's Ballantrae Offices, located across from the subdivision of the same name on State Road 54, between the Suncoast Parkway and U.S. 41.

That complex will see 43 single-story office buildings, totaling 118, 500 square feet.

Howell, an Odessa developer specializing in office parks, spent much of last year snapping up chunks of prime commercial real estate on an 8-mile stretch of SR 54.

Howell has at least six properties between Ballantrae Boulevard and U.S. 41, including two in Seven Oaks.

The other office proposal approved Thursday was the Wesley Oaks Professional Park, at Curley Road and SR 54.

Waterford Construction and Development is bringing 24, 250 square feet of offices there.

Watch for more.

The 140, 000 square feet approved Thursday are chump change compared to millions more in the pipeline.

Ashley Glen, a high-rise megadevelopment proposed at the Suncoast Parkway and SR 54, is expected to add 1.8-million square feet of office space. Northpointe at Suncoast Crossings, just across SR 54 from Ashley Glen, has options to add another million or so.

Chuin-Wei Yap can be reached at 813 909-4613 or cyap@sptimes.com.